McCullum is Morgan

Morgan credits McCullum for ODI revolution

England hit rock bottom two years ago but have transformed into an ODI powerhouse thanks to some Antipodean inspiration

Brendon McCullum was there for the beginning of England's one-day cricket revolution and skipper Eoin Morgan says the former Kiwi skipper has been a major inspiration for his side's dramatic turnaround in the 50-over game.

England returned to Edgbaston on Friday ahead of their Champions Trophy clash against Australia, the same venue where they hammered 408 against McCullum's Black Caps exactly two years earlier in their first one-day international since their embarrassing showing at the 2015 World Cup.

That thumping 210-run win against the World Cup finalists launched a stunning revival in England's one-day fortunes under Morgan's leadership, built on bold and attacking cricket that had long been the antithesis of their approach to the white-ball game.

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McCullum also built his captaincy reputation on adventurous play and Morgan said the strong bond he formed with the Kiwi during the Indian Premier League has seen that attacking mindset rub off.

"He's certainly been an inspiration for me," Morgan said.

"Three years at Kolkata (Knight Riders) with him, in which we sort of grew pretty close together, and I learned a lot from him. Watching him lead within a group and his sort of tactical cricket brain and how he goes about things.

"He always has an alternative view regardless of whether it's right or wrong, which makes things really interesting when you chat to him about cricket."

The 408 England plundered here on June 9, 2015 was their highest-ever one-day total at the time, a mark that was smashed by the 444 they posted against Pakistan at Trent Bridge last year.

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Eight of England's 10 highest ODI totals have come since their disastrous exit in the group stage of the World Cup, a horror campaign that led to a complete re-think of England's approach to the one-day game.

Morgan says the brand of cricket played by the four semi-finalists in that tournament, Australia, NZ, South Africa and India, provided him with an obvious template to follow when he was charged with leading England's new era.

"The brand of cricket they (the four semi-finalists) played was completely different to everybody else," he said.

"They were aggressive, they could score 350 if needed, and they always went for an attacking bowling line-up. Nothing they ever did was a step backwards.

"So that as a template, as opposed to just singling out New Zealand, I think, is more relevant."

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The coaching duo of Trevor Bayliss and Paul Farbrace, installed when Peter Moores was sacked after the 2015 World Cup, has also been credited with England's reversal in white-ball fortunes, as has director of cricket Andrew Strauss.

But Farbrace is in no doubt that it's Morgan rather than the backroom staff who deserve all of the credit for an enlightening two-year period.

"I think Eoin Morgan is the single biggest factor in England's success in the last two years in white-ball cricket," Farbrace said on Thursday.

"The build-up to that game here where we scored 400, he told the players to go out and play their way and back themselves to play their way. He went out and did exactly that in the first game and continued to do so throughout the series.

"And I think players started saying 'It's OK to do it. Not only is he saying it, he's actually living it and doing it'. And people have taken his lead from that."

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Already safely through to the Champions Trophy semi-finals after comfortable wins against Bangladesh and NZ, both Morgan and Farbrace have urged their side to not relent against Australia on Saturday even though the joy of knocking their fierce rivals out of the tournament is all they have to play for.

"We're in a position where we have nothing to lose," Morgan said.

"We're pretty confident at the moment, and I think the game that we've got, if we produce somewhere near our best, we'll certainly contend.

"If we're looking to win this tournament and go beyond and win the World Cup (in 2019), we need to be beating the best sides in the world, and Australia at the moment are one of them."

In a little over a week from now, the cricket world will find out if Morgan can triumph where McCullum didn't by holding the trophy aloft at a major one-day tournament.

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1 JuneEngland beat Bangladesh by eight wickets

2 JuneNew Zealand v Australia, No Result

3 JuneSri Lanka lost to South Africa by 96 runs

4 June – India beat Pakistan by 124 runs

5 JuneAustralia v Bangladesh, No Result

6 JuneEngland beat New Zealand by 87 runs

7 JunePakistan beat South Africa by 19 runs (DL method)

8 June Sri Lanka beat India by seven wickets

9 June New Zealand lost to Bangladesh

10 JuneEngland v Australia, Edgbaston (D)

11 JuneIndia v South Africa, The Oval (D)

12 JuneSri Lanka v Pakistan, Cardiff (D)

14 JuneFirst semi-final (A1 v B2), Cardiff (D)

15 JuneSecond semi-final (A2 v B1), Edgbaston (D)

18 JuneFinal, The Oval (D)

19 June – Reserve day (D)

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